Headed up to the Genting Grand Hotel recently for a special pairing of Chivas Regal Mizunara (and other expressions) with a 4 Course Set Menu by award-winning The Olive Restaurant & Bar located in the Genting Grand hotel, up in Genting Highlands. The last fine dining Chivas Regal dinner I had was some years ago (which you can read here – https://timchew.net/2012/07/28/chivas-18-vivienne-westwood-dinner/) and I had such a good time there that I was quite excited about this one. Furthermore, the venue for the dinner was The Olive which won the best restaurant at MIGF2016, hence I expected the dinner to be quite the gastronomical adventure.
The dinner was to highlight the relatively new (in Malaysia) Chivas Regal Mizunara expression which was the world’s first Scotch whisky to be selectively finished in highly sought-after Japanese Mizunara oak casks. It marked a new milestone in innovative whisky-making when it was first unveiled exclusively in Japan in 2013. Following the success of the whisky in Japan and subsequently France and Thailand, Pernod Ricard Malaysia brought in limited quantities which are currently available at selected entertainment outlets throughout the country since March 2018.
The process of crafting Chivas Regal Mizunara is highly bespoke, involving the introduction of Mizunara oak casks to the finishing process. These casks, crafted from trees indigenous to Japan, are extremely scarce, and renowned for their distinctive porous nature – making whiskies finished in Mizunara casks quite sought after by whisky collectors.
Chivas Regal Mizunara is a blend of the single malt and grain whiskies, and is rich and fruity on the nose, presenting aromas of pear and orange, while the taste is smooth and rich with honey sweetness and a trace of hazelnut. The Mizunara casks impart a subtle yet distinctive spicy finish on the smooth, generous flavour profile of the Chivas house style, making Chivas Regal Mizunara a unique and premium product indeed!
A special tasting ritual of the Chivas Regal Mizunara for us guests during the cocktail before dinner!
Truth be told – I’m not the biggest fan of Chivas Regal 12 or Chivas Regal Extra. Both are fine for casual drinking in clubs, however these days my palate has matured to want something to be savoured rather than to get me into the party mood (I don’t really party that often any more these days unlike years ago when I was younger).
I thoroughly enjoyed the Chivas Regal Mizunara with its signature Chivas Regal style whisky enhanced by the Mizunara casks which give it an extra dimension of flavours while retaining the smoothness of the whisky. Luxurious and slightly spicy on the palate (I really dislike very spicy whiskies), this was one whisky that could be sipped and savoured all night long, while a cube of ice or a dash of water opened up even more flavours! This, my friends, is my new favourite expression from Chivas Regal, and is a fine example of what innovation can create!
Amuse Bouche – Chef’s Creation which was paired with Chivas Regal 12 Y.O
Salmon tartare topped with a generous amount of fish roe, with Chivas Regal 12 Y.O cocktails to start the evening.
Celeriac, Chanterelle, Onion Jus
Paired with Chivas Regal Mizunara
Colour: Golden treacle.
Nose: White peach, vanilla-rich cream and toffee-coated pears. Subtly nutty.
Palate: Sweet and Flora, though hints of baking spices bring balance and body.
Finish: Still packed with fruit, with a hint of aniseed hiding within.
I’m often very amused to read the tasting notes of whisky (or other types of alcohol like wine, cognac, etc. etc.). Maybe it’s my nose and palate being insensitive as I can rarely taste what is written on the notes. Most master distillers and winemakers that I’ve met though, have often reminded us that the notes are just guidelines, and that everyone’s nose/ palate is unique and thus able to discern different aromas and flavours.
That being said, this was a lovely pairing of the slightly spicy and oh so smooth Chivas Regal Mizunara with the savoury flavour of the celeriac, the earthy flavours of the chanterelle mushrooms, as well as the sweet onion jus!
Curried Parsnip Soup
Apple puree, Parsnip Chips, Wasabi Cress
This dish was not paired (but I did try!) with any of the whisky expressions as it was quite robust in flavour and thus would have masked the taste of the whisky. An interesting combination of flavours though…
Gold bar Miyazaki Beef
Romanesco, Potato, Salted Carrot, Soy Glaze, Sweet Ginger
Paired with Chivas Regal Extra
This was the highlight of the dinner. A beautiful bar of Miyazaki beef with quality even higher than Kobe beef cooked to medium rare perfection! The result was a steak that absolutely melts in the mouth while providing lovely beef flavours. The other elements on the dish provided a little variance in flavours, especially the sweet rock ginger. This was probably why The Olive won the best restaurant award at MIGF 2016. A truly superb and remarkable dish and one that went extremely well with the spicy notes of the Chivas Regal Extra which gave the beef an extra dimension.
Coconut Chocolate Ganache, Cigar Flavoured Ice Cream
Paired with Chivas Regal 18 Y.O
I’m not a dessert person but I really couldn’t stop eating the “cigar flavoured” ice cream which I’m guessing was made by adding some peaty Islay whisky to the ice cream. The chocolate ganache went delightfully well with the richness of the Chivas Regal 18 Y.O. – dark chocolate and whisky is always a good match. What a luxurious end to a memorable meal!